B-25768, JULY 15, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 37

B-25768: Jul 15, 1942

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" THE GRATUITY THUS AUTHORIZED MAY BE PAID WITHOUT REGARD TO WHETHER DEATH OCCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY IF THERE BE MET THE CONDITION OF THE 1919 STATUTE THAT DEATH SHALL NOT HAVE OCCURRED AS THE RESULT OF THE SOLDIER'S OWN MISCONDUCT. THERE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 16. AS FOLLOWS: ATTACHED HERETO IS A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $126.00 IN FAVOR OF MRS. IS FURTHER AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 10. PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY TO BENEFICIARIES OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY WHOSE DEATH WAS NOT THE RESULT OF THEIR OWN MISCONDUCT. A COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED HERETO. TO BENEFICIARIES OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OTHER THAN THOSE OF THE REGULAR ARMY WHOSE DEATH'S WERE "NOT IN LINE OF DUTY.

B-25768, JULY 15, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 37

GRATUITIES - SIX MONTHS' DEATH - ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES PERSONNEL UNDER THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, AS AMENDED, EXTENDING TO DESIGNATED BENEFICIARIES OF ALL OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES THE RIGHT TO THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY BENEFITS--- APPLICABLE TO BENEFICIARIES OF MEMBERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY--- OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, AS AMENDED, WHEN DEATH OF THE SOLDIER OCCURS "IN LINE OF DUTY," THE GRATUITY THUS AUTHORIZED MAY BE PAID WITHOUT REGARD TO WHETHER DEATH OCCURRED IN LINE OF DUTY IF THERE BE MET THE CONDITION OF THE 1919 STATUTE THAT DEATH SHALL NOT HAVE OCCURRED AS THE RESULT OF THE SOLDIER'S OWN MISCONDUCT.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO COL. W. M. DIXON, UNITED STATES ARMY, JULY 15, 1942:

BY ENDORSEMENT OF APRIL 20, 1942, THERE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 16, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

ATTACHED HERETO IS A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $126.00 IN FAVOR OF MRS. ROSE EVELYN MAAS, AS WIDOW AND DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY FOR THE SIX MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IN THE CASE OF PRIVATE ROBERT J. MAAS, NUMBER 39,079,435.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939 (53 STAT. 557), AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1939 (53 STAT. 1079), IS FURTHER AMENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, TO INCLUDE PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919 (41 STAT. 367). THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES FOR PENSIONS, DISABILITY COMPENSATIONS, AND SO FORTH, FOR OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OTHER THAN THE REGULAR ARMY, WHOSE DISABILITY OR DEATH OCCUR IN LINE OF DUTY.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF THE SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY TO BENEFICIARIES OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY WHOSE DEATH WAS NOT THE RESULT OF THEIR OWN MISCONDUCT.

THE REPORT OF DEATH IN THE CASE OF PRIVATE MAAS, A COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED HERETO, SHOWS DEATH AS A RESULT OF SUICIDE AND HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT AS "NOT IN LINE OF DUTY, BUT NOT THE RESULT OF THE DECEASED'S OWN MISCONDUCT.' THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE SIX MONTHS' GRATUITY MAY BE PAID UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, TO BENEFICIARIES OF OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OTHER THAN THOSE OF THE REGULAR ARMY WHOSE DEATH'S WERE "NOT IN LINE OF DUTY, BUT NOT THE RESULT OF THEIR OWN MISCONDUCT.'

YOUR DECISION IS THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT OF THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IS AUTHORIZED.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, 41 STAT. 367, IS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT HEREAFTER, IMMEDIATELY UPON OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION OF THE DEATH FROM WOUNDS OR DISEASE, NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, OF ANY OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN ON THE ACTIVE LIST OF THE REGULAR ARMY OR ON THE RETIRED LIST WHEN ON ACTIVE DUTY, THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL OF THE ARMY SHALL CAUSE TO BE PAID TO THE WIDOW, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN, AND IF THERE BE NO WIDOW OR CHILD TO ANY OTHER DEPENDENT RELATIVE OF SUCH OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED BY HIM, AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO SIX MONTHS' PAY AT THE RATE RECEIVED BY SUCH OFFICER OR ENLISTED MAN AT THE DATE OF HIS DEATH. * * * SECTION 2 OF THAT ACT EXPRESSLY EXCLUDED FROM ITS BENEFITS OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND THEIR BENEFICIARIES, OF FORCES OR TROOPS OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OTHER THAN THOSE OF THE REGULAR ARMY, AND ALL OFFICERS EXCEPT THOSE HOLDING PERMANENT OR PROVISIONAL APPOINTMENTS IN THE REGULAR ARMY.

THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, 53 STAT. 557, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT ALL OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, OTHER THAN THE OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY, IF CALLED OR ORDERED INTO THE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR EXTENDED MILITARY SERVICE IN EXCESS OF THIRTY DAYS, AND WHO SUFFER DISABILITY OR DEATH IN LINE OF DUTY FROM DISEASE OR INJURY WHILE SO EMPLOYED SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE DURING SUCH PERIOD AND SHALL BE IN ALL RESPECTS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE SAME PENSIONS, COMPENSATION, RETIREMENT PAY, AND HOSPITAL BENEFITS AS ARE NOW OR MAY HEREAFTER BE PROVIDED BY LAW OR REGULATION FOR OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF CORRESPONDING GRADES AND LENGTH OF SERVICE OF THE REGULAR ARMY (SECTION 5). AN AMENDMENT OF JULY 25, 1939, 53 STAT. 1079, TO THIS PROVISION, EXCLUDED SERVICE WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FROM ITS BENEFITS.

SUBSEQUENT TO THE PASSAGE OF THE STATUTE LAST ABOVE QUOTED, IT WAS HELD IN DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE THAT THE BENEFITS PROVIDED THEREIN FOR OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN, TO WIT "PENSIONS, COMPENSATION, RETIREMENT PAY, AND HOSPITAL BENEFITS" WERE RIGHTS AND BENEFITS PERSONAL TO THE OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN INVOLVED, WITH THE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION OF PENSIONS, AND THAT THE STATUTE DID NOT COMPREHEND PAYMENT OF THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY TO BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN DYING WHILE IN ACTIVE SERVICE. B-9734, JUNE 13, 1940; B-13673, DECEMBER 20, 1940; B- 13209, NOVEMBER 15, 1940, MARCH 20, 1941; B-17896, JULY 7, 1941.

AFTER THOSE DECISIONS AND APPARENTLY, AS WILL HEREINAFTER APPEAR, WITH THE PURPOSE TO MEET THEM, AN AMENDMENT TO THE ACT WAS ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS, APPROVED DECEMBER 10, 1941, 55 STAT. 796, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT, EFFECTIVE AS OF AUGUST 27, 1940, THE LAST PROVISO OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 30, 1935, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939 (53 STAT. 557), AND BY THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1939 (53 STAT. 1079), BE, AND THE SAME IS HEREBY, FURTHER AMENDED BY CHANGING THE FINAL PERIOD TO A COMMA AND ADDING THE FOLLOWING: "INCLUDING FOR THEIR DEPENDENTS THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919 (41 STAT. 367), AS AMENDED.'

THE COMMITTEE ON MILITARY AFFAIRS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, IN REPORTING ON THIS BILL ( REPORT NO. 1280, 77TH CONG. ST SESS., OCTOBER 16, 1941) STATED IN RELEVANT PART:

BY THE ACT OF CONGRESS OF APRIL 3, 1939 (53 STAT. 557, 1079), IT WAS PROVIDED THAT OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OTHER THAN THOSE OF THE REGULAR ARMY ORDERED INTO THE FEDERAL SERVICE FOR MORE THAN 30 DAYS, AND WHO SUFFERED DEATH OR DISABILITY IN LINE OF DUTY WHILE SO EMPLOYED, SHOULD IN ALL RESPECTS BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE SAME PENSIONS, COMPENSATION, RETIREMENT PAY, AND HOSPITAL BENEFITS AS ARE NOW, OR MAY HEREAFTER BE, PROVIDED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS, FOR OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF CORRESPONDING GRADE AND LENGTH OF SERVICE IN THE REGULAR ARMY. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAS RULED THAT THE BENEFITS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, ARE PERSONAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED AND DO NOT EXTEND TO SUCH PERSONS' BENEFICIARIES, CONSEQUENTLY PAYMENT OF 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE TERMS THEREOF. AT THE TIME OF THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, IT WAS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THE LANGUAGE THEREOF WAS SUFFICIENT TO INCLUDE THE PAYMENT OF THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY.

IT IS THE OPINION OF YOUR COMMITTEE THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS BILL SHOULD BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPENDENTS OF ALL COMPONENTS OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES WHO HAVE BEEN CALLED INTO SERVICE UNDER THE PRESENT EMERGENCY. CONSEQUENTLY, IT RECOMMENDS THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS BILL BE AUGUST 27, 1940, THE DATE ON WHICH THE ACT CALLING THE NATIONAL GUARD AND THE RESERVE OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES INTO ACTIVE FEDERAL SERVICE BECAME EFFECTIVE. * * *

THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1939, AND FINALLY BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, NOW READS AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT ALL OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES, OTHER THAN THE OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY, IF CALLED OR ORDERED INTO THE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FOR EXTENDED MILITARY SERVICE IN EXCESS OF THIRTY DAYS, OTHER THAN FOR SERVICE WITH THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, AND WHO SUFFER DISABILITY OR DEATH IN LINE OF DUTY FROM DISEASE OR INJURY WHILE SO EMPLOYED SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE BEEN IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE DURING SUCH PERIOD AND SHALL BE IN ALL RESPECTS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE SAME PENSIONS, COMPENSATION, RETIREMENT PAY, AND HOSPITAL BENEFITS AS ARE NOW OR MAY HEREAFTER BE PROVIDED BY LAW OR REGULATION FOR OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN OF CORRESPONDING GRADES AND LENGTH OF SERVICE OF THE REGULAR ARMY, INCLUDING FOR THEIR DEPENDENTS THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919 (41 STAT. 367), AS AMENDED.

WHEN THIS STATUTE IS READ IN COMPARISON WITH THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, QUOTED, ANTE, IT IS SEEN THAT THERE STILL REMAINS AN APPARENT DISCREPANCY, IN THAT THE EARLIER ACT CONFERS UPON MEMBERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY, OR RATHER UPON THEIR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED AS PRESCRIBED THEREIN, THE BENEFIT OF THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY, PROVIDED THE DEATH OF THE SOLDIER RESULTS FROM WOUNDS OR DISEASE NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, THUS ELIMINATING THE NECESSITY THAT THE DISEASE OR WOUND CAUSING DEATH SHALL HAVE BEEN INCURRED STRICTLY IN THE LINE OF DUTY, WHILE THE LATTER ACT, AS AMENDED, CONFERS ITS BENEFITS UPON MEMBERS OF WHAT MAY BE DESIGNATED THE "EMERGENCY FORCES," OR THEIR BENEFICIARIES, WHEN THE SOLDIER SUFFERS DISABILITY OR DEATH IN LINE OF DUTY.

HENCE, IT WOULD APPEAR AT FIRST BLUSH THAT A CASE SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED- -- THAT IS, WHERE THE DEATH OF THE SOLDIER OF THE EMERGENCY FORCES IS NOT IN LINE OF DUTY, ALTHOUGH NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, AS DETERMINED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT--- WOULD CONSTITUTE A CASUS OMISSUS IN THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT A CASUS OMISSUS--- THAT IS, A CASE OR CLASS OF CASES OMITTED OR UNPROVIDED FOR BY STATUTE--- IS TO BE HELD AS INTENTIONALLY OMITTED, AND MOST COURTS HAVE TAKEN THE VIEW THAT WHERE A CASUS OMISSUS DOES REALLY OCCUR IN A STATUTE, EVEN THOUGH MANIFESTLY THROUGH THE INADVERTENCE OF THE LEGISLATURE, IT CAN IN NO CASE BE SUPPLIED BY A COURT OF LAW, SINCE TO DO SO WOULD BE TO MAKE LAWS. JONES V. SMART, 1 T.R. 44, 52; ESTES 1. TERRELL ( TEXAS), 92 S.W. 407. ON SUCH A VIEW AND UNDER A STRICT APPLICATION OF THE RULE, THE STATUTE IN QUESTION MAKES NO SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR A CASE SUCH AS THIS, AND PAYMENT OF THE DEATH GRATUITY UNDER THE FACTS DISCLOSED MIGHT READILY BE CONSIDERED AS UNAUTHORIZED. HOWEVER, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT A CASUS OMISSUS SHOULD NOT BE CREATED BY INTERPRETATION, SAVE IN SOME CASE OF STRONG NECESSITY, AND SHOULD NOT BE ACKNOWLEDGED, IF BY ANY REASONABLE CONSTRUCTION THE STATUTE MAY BE READ TO AVOID IT. YOUNG V. REGENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS, 124 PAC. 150. AND THAT WOULD APPEAR THE BETTER RULE WHERE, AS HERE, THE STATUTE INVOLVED IS REMEDIAL OR "EQUALIZING" LEGISLATION. ALSO, THERE ARE OTHER CANONS OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION WHICH SEEM TO SUPPORT THE CONCLUSION REACHED UPON YOUR SUBMISSION. IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THE PURPOSES OF THE LAW IS THE EVER INSISTENT CONSIDERATION IN ITS INTERPRETATION, UNITED STATES V. ANTIKAMNIA CO., 231 U.S. 654, 667; THAT CONSTRUCTIONS OF STATUTES ARE TO BE MADE OF THE WHOLE ACT ACCORDING TO THE INTENTION OF THE MAKERS, AND SOMETIMES ARE TO BE EXPOUNDED AGAINST THE LETTER TO PRESERVE THE INTENT, MANKEL V. UNITED STATES, 19 CT.1CLS. 295; THAT THE CONSTRUCTION IS TO BE GIVEN A STATUTE WHICH WILL CARRY INTO EFFECT THE INTENTION, PURPOSE, AND OBJECT OF THE LAWMAKERS, GRIFFIS V. UNITED STATES, 52 CT.1CLS. 170, 185. AND IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT IN CONSTRUCTION---

* * * IT IS NOT TO BE EXPECTED THAT A STATUTE WHICH TAKES ITS PLACE IN A GENERAL SYSTEM OF JURISPRUDENCE SHALL BE SO PERFECT AS TO REQUIRE NO SUPPORT FROM THE RULES AND STATUTES OF THE SYSTEM OF WHICH IT BECOMES A PART, OR SO CLEAR IN ALL ITS TERMS AS TO FURNISH IN ITSELF ALL THE LIGHT NEEDED FOR ITS CONSTRUCTION. IT IS PROPER TO LOOK TO OTHER STATUTES, TO THE RULES OF THE COMMON LAW, TO THE SOURCES FROM WHICH THE STATUTE WAS DERIVED, TO THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EQUITY, TO THE OBJECT OF THE STATUTE, AND TO THE CONDITION OF AFFAIRS EXISTING WHEN THE STATUTE WAS ADOPTED. * * * HOCKADAY V. LYNN ( MO.), 8 LRANS 117, 121, ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

* * * THE LEGISLATURE HAS THE POWER TO DECIDE WHAT THE POLICY OF THE LAW SHALL BE, AND IF IT HAS INTIMATED ITS WILL, HOWEVER INDIRECTLY, THAT WILL SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AND OBEYED. THE MAJOR PREMISE OF THE CONCLUSION EXPRESSED IN A STATUTE, THE CHANGE OF POLICY THAT INDUCES THE ENACTMENT, MAY NOT BE SET OUT IN TERMS, BUT IT IS NOT AN ADEQUATE DISCHARGE OF DUTY FOR COURTS TO SAY: WE SEE WHAT YOU ARE DRIVING AT, BUT YOU HAVE NOT SAID IT, AND THEREFORE WE SHALL GO ON AS BEFORE. JOHNSON V. UNITED STATES, 163 FED. 30, 32. AND IN VAN BEECK V. SABINE TOWING CO., 300 U.S. 342, 350, THE COURT SAID:

* * * IT WOULD BE A MISFORTUNE IF A NARROW OR GRUDGING PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTION WERE TO EXEMPLIFY AND PERPETUATE THE VERY EVILS TO BE REMEDIED. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN UNCERTAIN WORDS ARE TO BE WROUGHT INTO CONSISTENCY AND UNITY WITH A LEGISLATIVE POLICY WHICH IS ITSELF A SOURCE OF LAW, A NEW GENERATIVE IMPULSE TRANSMITTED TO THE LEGAL SYSTEM. "THE LEGISLATURE HAS THE POWER TO DECIDE WHAT THE POLICY OF THE LAW SHALL BE, AND IF IT HAS INTIMATED ITS WILL, HOWEVER INDIRECTLY, THAT WILL SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED AND OBEYED.' ITS INTIMATION IS CLEAR ENOUGH IN THE STATUTES NOW BEFORE US THAT THEIR EFFECTS SHALL NOT BE STIFLED, WITHOUT THE WARRANT OF CLEAR NECESSITY, BY THE PERPETUATION OF A POLICY WHICH NOW HAS HAD ITS DAY.

HAVING IN MIND THESE PRINCIPLES, WHICH ARE MORE FITTING TO THE INSTANT CASE THAN ANY RULE MORE STRICT AND RESTRICTIVE, BE IT REMEMBERED THAT THE CONDITION OF AFFAIRS EXISTING WHEN THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, WAS PASSED WAS THAT THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, CONFERRED UPON THE BENEFICIARIES OF OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE REGULAR ARMY CERTAIN BENEFITS WHICH WERE EXPRESSLY DENIED TO THE PERSONNEL OF OTHER COMPONENTS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT AND THEIR BENEFICIARIES. THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, WAS INTENDED TO AND DID CONFER UPON THE PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES OTHER THAN MEMBERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY, WHEN CALLED TO ACTIVE SERVICE FOR A SEASON, CERTAIN BENEFITS NOT AVAILABLE TO THEM THERETOFORE. HOWEVER, THOSE BENEFITS EXPRESSLY ENUMERATED IN THAT ACT OBVIOUSLY WERE PERSONAL TO THE MEN THEMSELVES, AND THERE WAS NO MENTION OR IMPLICATION THAT THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY TO BENEFICIARIES WAS INCLUDED OR WAS INTENDED TO BE INCLUDED, AND IT WAS NECESSARILY HELD TO THE CONTRARY IN THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE CITED ABOVE. BUT THAT THE FAILURE TO INCLUDE THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY TO BENEFICIARIES WAS AN INADVERTENT CASUS OMISSUS APPEARS SUFFICIENTLY FROM THE ABOVE-QUOTED REPORT ON THE AMENDMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, WHICH WAS ENACTED FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF CURING THE OMISSION IN THE EARLIER ACT, FOR IT WAS STATED THAT: "AT THE TIME OF THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, IT WAS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THE LANGUAGE THEREOF WAS SUFFICIENT TO INCLUDE THE PAYMENT OF THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY.' WHEN THE GRAVE CONDITION WHICH EXISTED WHEN THE ACT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, WAS ENACTED, IS CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURPOSE AS EXPRESSED BY THE COMMITTEE, THE CONCLUSION IS NOT DIFFICULT THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO ASSURE TO THE PERSONNEL OF THE EMERGENCY FORCES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, EVERY BENEFIT AVAILABLE TO THE PERSONNEL OF THE REGULAR ARMY IN TIMES OF WAR OR PEACE. TO DENY TO ANY MEMBER OF THE EMERGENCY FORCES OR TO THOSE THEY LEAVE BEHIND ANY BENEFIT AVAILABLE TO OTHERS WOULD LEAD TO INJUSTICE, INEQUALITY, AND ABSURD CONSEQUENCES. SUCH A PURPOSE OF GRIEVOUS DISCRIMINATION IS NOT TO BE IMPUTED TO THE CONGRESS BY A "NARROW OR GRUDGING PROCESS OF CONSTRUCTION" OF THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, AS NOW AMENDED.

THE AMENDMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, CONFERRED UPON THE BENEFICIARIES OF THE PERSONNEL COVERED BY THE ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939,"THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, AS AMENDED.' THOSE BENEFITS INCLUDED THE RIGHT OF THE BENEFICIARIES DEFINED THEREIN TO BE PAID THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY WHEN THE DECEASED SOLDIER WAS THE VICTIM OF WOUNDS OR DISEASE NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT. THIS OFFICE FEELS JUSTIFIED IN THE VIEW THAT IT WAS THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE AMENDMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1941, NOT ONLY TO CONFER UPON BENEFICIARIES OF DECEASED SOLDIERS OF THE EMERGENCY FORCES THE 6 MONTHS' DEATH GRATUITY PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 17, 1919, BUT TO CONFER THE GRATUITY SUBJECT TO THE EXPRESS CONDITION PRESCRIBED IN THAT ACT, TO WIT, THAT THE SOLDIER'S DEATH SHALL NOT BE THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, THUS PLACING SUCH BENEFICIARIES ON AN EQUAL FOOTING IN ALL RESPECTS WITH BENEFICIARIES OF SOLDIERS OF THE REGULAR ARMY. OF COURSE, ANY OTHER BENEFIT GRANTED BY THE SECTION, AS AMENDED, IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN THE INDIVIDUAL SUFFERS "DISABILITY OR DEATH IN LINE OF DUTY," AND THIS SHOULD BE CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.